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Things sure have changed since these teams last won an NBA title.

By Erick Fernandez
May 08, 2015

The year 1998 was the last time any of the remaining NBA playoff teams won the league title. That year, the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz 4-2 in the NBA Finals to clinch their third straight championship. 

The past 16 NBA Finals have all featured either the Lakers, Heat or Spurs. But with all three teams eliminated, this year's finals will not feature Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan or Dwyane Wade for the first time since 1998.

That means one of the remaining franchises can either end a championship drought or win the first title in the team's history. To put these varying droughts into perspective, Extra Mustard traveled back in time to see what was happening in pop culture the last time each team won it all. If a team hasn't ever won—sorry Cavs fans—we examined another important date in franchise history. 

Chicago Bulls (1998)


As Michael Jordan and the Bulls were finishing off the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals in June 1998, Brandy and Monica's The Boy is Mine was beginning its run of atop of Billboard's Hot 100 list.

This R&B classic was No. 1 on the list for 13 straight weeks. 


A month before Chicago lifted the Larry O'Brien trophy, one of the most famous television series of all time came to an end.

After nine seasons, Seinfeld's last episode aired in May of 1998.

The series finale of Seinfeld was viewed by more than 76 million people.

Houston Rockets (1995) ​

Led by Hakeem Olajuwon, the Houston Rockets won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995. The Rockets, who find themselves in a 3-1 hole after Sunday's game against the Clippers, will hope to come back and win their first championship in 20 years.


Bryce Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" was the top song when Houston was making its run to the title as a No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.

Adams' ballad remained No. 1 throughout the month and into the first week of July.


The family sitcom Full House aired its final show in May of 1995, less than a month before the Rockets won their second straight title.

Full House was on the air for eight seasons.

Washington Wizards (1978, when they were the Bullets)  

The Washington Bullets beat the Seattle Supersonics in the 1978 NBA Finals. It is their first and only championship in team history.


Just three days after the Bullets won the championship, "You're the One That I Want" from the movie Grease topped the Billboard chart.

The song only had the top spot for a week, but that song will forever be No. 1 in the hearts of many.


1978 marked the debuts of some classic television shows, including TaxiDiff'rent Strokes and Dallas.

Dallas made its debut in April 1978 and was on the air for 13 seasons.

Golden State Warriors (1975)

May 25 will mark the 40th anniversary of Golden State's last NBA title. 1975 is also the only year the franchise has won a championship since relocating from Philadelphia.

Despite facing the heavily-favored Washington Bullets, who won 60 games that season, Golden State swept them in the finals.


As Golden State was handling their business on the court, Earth, Wind and Fire's "Shining Star" was the No. 1 song in the country

This track is one of the group's classics and has been featured in numerous movies and television shows since.


Months after Golden State's championship, NBC's Saturday Night—now known as Saturday Night Live—premiered in October of 1975.

George Carlin hosted the first show and happened to have a monologue about sports.

Atlanta Hawks (1958, when they were the St. Louis Hawks)

It has been more than 50 years since the Hawks organization last won an NBA title. At that time of their last championship, the organization was based in St. Louis. This was the only time Celtics center Bill Russell, who was injured in Game 3 of the series, lost an NBA Finals.

The only NBA championship drought longer than the Hawks' dry spell belongs to the Sacramento Kings, who have not won since 1951.


The Hawks' last championship actually predates the Billboard Hot 100 by a few months. Billboard did keep track of top singles, and The Champs' "Tequila" was the number one song in March of 1958 and held that spot for five weeks.

In 1958, the NBA Finals concluded in mid-April. 


It's no surprise that there were fewer options on television the last time the Hawks won a title. 

In 1958, Leave it to Beaver was in its second season.

The show ran from 1957-1963.

Cleveland Cavaliers (never won an NBA Finals; Eastern Conference champions in 2007) 

Cleveland is one of the most tortured sports cities in all the United States. The city last had a championship-winning team in 1964, when the Browns won an NFL title.

The Cavaliers, whose first season in the league was 1970, have not won a title in the franchise's history. Their most successful season came when LeBron James helped lead Cleveland to the 2007 NBA Finals, where the Cavs were swept by the Spurs. 


In June of 2007, Rihanna's "Umbrella" was beginning its seven-week stay atop of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.


One day after the Spurs defeated the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, CBS aired Bob Barker's final show as host of The Price is Right. 

After 35 years as a host, the 84-year-old Barker called it quits.

Los Angeles Clippers (never won NBA Finals or Western Conference)

The Los Angeles Clippers, formerly the Buffalo Braves from '70-78 and the San Diego Clippers from '78-84, have never won an NBA title or conference crown in franchise history. Since there are no serious postseason accomplishments to acknowledge, let's see what was happening in pop culture when the organization moved to Los Angeles.


In 1984, the first season the Clippers would be playing in L.A., Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" became a hit song.


The crime-fighting show Miami Vice began its five-season run in September 1984.

Memphis Grizzlies (never won NBA Finals or Western Conference)

Like the Clippers, Memphis has never won an NBA Finals or a Western Conference title. But unlike Los Angeles, the Grizzlies have not been around since 1970. The Grizzlies, originally based in Vancouver, were founded in 1995. After no playoff appearances in six seasons, the team relocated from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001.

Let's check in on the state of pop culture when the Grizzlies relocated. 


As the team's first season in Memphis was getting underway, the Jennifer Lopez song "I'm Real," featuring Ja Rule was the most popular song in the U.S.


The television show 24 aired one week after the start of the NBA season.

The show was resurrected for a ninth season in 2014. 

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